Power of performance

I got home from work last night and found BorderlineStraggler doing the ironing halfway through watching a documentary on the performance artist Marina Abramovic. He went and saw this film as part of  Borderlines Film Festival, loved it so much that he wanted to watch it again. I walked in 40 mins into the film and was instantly captivated. The documentary follows the lead up to a retrospective Abramovic had at MOMA in 2010, the centrepiece of which was a three month long performance where audience members could sit opposite her interacting only through an intense shared gaze. The intensity of her performance work is overwhelming and I found myself in tears more than once. I missed a lot of the build up about the show and the relationship between Marina and her ex partner Ulay as I came in 40 mins into it so when I saw footage of their works together I was responding only to the relationship portrayed in their silent contemplation and it was beautiful. 

Performance art is something that I don't have a great deal of experience with, but what I have seen has always had a profound impact on me. I am attracted to intimate, personal art which creates a connection between the viewer and the work, and performance has the capacity to do this in a way a lot of other mediums don't. In the summer I went with SilverLining to see Tino Sehgal's installation at Tate Modern's Turbine hall, which has been affectionately termed the Swarm. It was a hypnotic, beautiful, intriguing piece which we sat with for over an hour, first from above, and then later on right in the heart of the swarm. This piece involved accepting and sharing stories from the people in the piece who moved around the hall in a swarm formation which built from a slow walk to a frenetic run. We emerged from the experience blinking into a grey sky in London both moved and energised by the unexpected intensity of the piece. 

Part of my final collection is going to include creating an interactive element in my quilts. A key element of my work is the interaction between the viewer and the piece which means I am going to need to do more research into performance in the next few weeks. I came away from the documentary last night ready to pare back my designs which have been creeping into colourful and restore the relationship which invites the viewer to look closer and spend time engaging with the subtlety of the pieces and having confidence in the importance of that quiet.

1 comment:

b.straggler said...

now back at HCA library for anyone who wants it!


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